Samsung says commercial production of 3nm chips will begin in the coming weeks

In short: Competition in the semiconductor market continues to intensify and Samsung wants to establish itself as a leader in process technology. To this end, the company is trying to start commercial production of 3nm chips before the summer.

Samsung planned to start mass production of the 3-nanometer process technology (3GAE) sometime in the first half of 2022, and the second generation node in 2023. This week the company said investors, it is on track to start mass production in the coming weeks.

This means the South Korean giant will be the first to achieve this level of miniaturization, and its 3nm process will also be the first to use through-gate field-effect transistors (GAAFETs). Samsung refers to its implementation of 3nm GAAFETs as Multi-Channel FETs (MBCFETs).

The company claims several advantages over 7nm FinFET as the MBCFET can operate at voltages as low as 0.75V. This can reduce power consumption by up to 50%, improve performance by 30%, and reduce area by up to 45%.

In other words, logic density may be the same as Intel 4 and TSMC 5N, but it may perform better due to wider channels and lower leakage current. The biggest unknown is harvestwhich was a major issue with Samsung’s 4nm process node, prompting companies like Qualcomm to approach TSMC for future chips.

Other manufacturers such as Intel and TSMC are also gearing up to move to GAAFET in the coming years, and this could be their most costly transition. For Samsung, MBCFET’s compatibility with FinFET manufacturing processes and equipment has not only accelerated development, but also kept costs under control.

Meanwhile, Samsung has sold as many chips as it could produce in the first quarter of this year and expects demand for its DRAM and NAND products to remain strong in the coming months. The company recorded an operating profit of 14.1 trillion won ($11.2 billion) in the three months ended March, more than half of that amount ($6.7 billion) came from its chip division.

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